Death toll from Kabul wedding party suicide bomb rises to 63

Death toll from Kabul wedding party suicide bomb rises to 63

The death from a suicide bombing at a wedding party in Afghanistan’s capital has risen to 63.

At least 182 people were wounded in the attack which took place in the western part of the city, Afghan government spokesman Feroz Bashari said.

The Taliban has denied any involvement and condemned the bombing.

A witness said the attacker set off the explosives near the stage where children had gathered.

Gul Mohammad told The Associated Press that everyone gathered there was killed.

Dozens are feared dead in the blast (Rafiq Maqbool/AP)
Dozens are feared dead in the blast (Rafiq Maqbool/AP)

Another witness, Mohammad Toofan, said that “a lot of guests were martyred”.

Hundreds of people were believed to be inside the hall.

Interior ministry spokesman Nusrat Rahimi told The Associated Press there was no immediate information on the cause of the blast.

Both the Taliban and a local affiliate of the Islamic State group carry out bloody attacks in the city.

“There are so many dead and wounded,” said Ahmad Omid, a survivor who said about 1,200 guests had been invited to the wedding for his father’s cousin.

“I was with the groom in the other room when we heard the blast and then I couldn’t find anyone. Everyone was lying all around the hall.”

Outside a local hospital, families wailed. Others were covered in blood.

The blast at the Dubai City wedding hall in western Kabul, a part of the city that many in the minority Shiite Hazara community call home, shattered a period of relative calm in the city.

On August 7, a Taliban car bomb aimed at Afghan security forces detonated on the same road in a busy west Kabul neighbourhood, killing 14 people and wounding 145 – most of them women, children and other civilians.

Kabul’s huge, brightly lit wedding halls are centres of community life in a city weary of decades of war, with thousands of pounds spent on a single evening.

“Devastated by the news of a suicide attack inside a wedding hall in Kabul. A heinous crime against our people; how is it possible to train a human and ask him to go and blow himself (up) inside a wedding?!!” Sediq Seddiqi, spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani, said in a Twitter post.

An Afghan man mourns near the body of his brother (Rafiq Maqbool/AP)
An Afghan man mourns near the body of his brother (Rafiq Maqbool/AP)

The wedding halls also serve as meeting places. In November at least 55 people were killed when a suicide bomber sneaked into a Kabul wedding hall where hundreds of Muslim religious scholars and clerics had gathered to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad.

The latest attack came a few days after the end of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, with Kabul residents visiting family and friends, and just before Afghanistan marks its 100th independence day on Monday.

The blast comes at a greatly uncertain time in Afghanistan as the United States and the Taliban near a deal to end a nearly 18-year war, America’s longest conflict.

The Afghan government has been sidelined from those discussions, and presidential spokesman Mr Seddiqi said earlier Saturday that his government was waiting to hear the results of President Donald Trump’s meeting Friday with his national security team about the negotiations.

Top issues include a US troop withdrawal and Taliban guarantees not to let Afghanistan become a launching pad for global terror attacks.

While the Taliban earlier this year pledged to do more to protect civilians, it continues to stage deadly attacks against Afghan security forces and others in what is seen by many as an attempt to strengthen its position at the negotiating table.

The conflict continues to take a horrific toll on civilians.

Last year more than 3,800, including more than 900 children, were killed in Afghanistan by the Taliban, US and allied forces, the Islamic State affiliate and other actors, the United Nations said.

- Press Association

More in this Section

Antidepressant reduces anxiety rather than depression, study findsAntidepressant reduces anxiety rather than depression, study finds

Study reveals three billion fewer birds over North AmericaStudy reveals three billion fewer birds over North America

Canadian PM Trudeau cannot say how often he wore blackfaceCanadian PM Trudeau cannot say how often he wore blackface

Two to be sentenced for Emiliano Sala mortuary footageTwo to be sentenced for Emiliano Sala mortuary footage


Lifestyle

Audrey's been sorting out Cork people for ages.Ask Audrey: C’mere, what’s the story with Chris O’Dowd thinking he’s better than Cork people

So, I put a link to a short story up for my students the other day. The story was by Michael Morpurgo and I was delighted to find an online copy. It can be challenging when you are relying on non-paper texts to teach.Secret diary of an Irish teacher: I love physical books and always will

Celebrated actress Siobhán McSweeney may have found fame starring in a TV series set at the other end of the country, but Cork is never far from her thoughts, writes Ciara McDonnellHome is where the art is for Derry Girls actress

There are literally hundreds of free events on offer this evening for kids and adults on Culture Night. Marjorie Brennan selects the best of them, in Cork and beyondCulture Night: Get out and make the most of it

More From The Irish Examiner